Justin Hartley played Aquaman in an unearthed TV pilot, more than a decade before Jason Momoa

This is Us star Justin Hartley just got married, and it looks like he got all of us a gift to celebrate: footage of himself playing a forgotten TV version of superhero Aquaman years before Jason Momoa landed the big-screen role. The never-picked-up pilot’s take on the character looks a lot different than what we’ve seen from Momoa in the Justice League trailers — namely, a lot fewer tats and a lot more frosted tips.

Hartley’s Aquaman was written for (what was then) The WB in 2006.

Judging by the trailer, the show was going for that same dramatic but playful (and just a little cheesy) vibe as a lot of the comic-inspired teen shows — Riverdale, Supergirl, etc. — on TV today. That tone makes sense. Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar developed the pilot. Ving Rhames, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Denise Quinones were set to costar.


Whereas Justice League‘s Aquaman (Momoa) seems to be ripped, gruff, and armed with a fierce-looking quindent, the TV version Hartley created is a laid-back, sun-kissed young dive shop owner who lost his mom in a terrible accident, can maybe talk to dolphins, and doesn’t understand why he’s so amazing at swimming. There are some sweet mid-2000s CGI effects and a lot of discussion about the lost city of Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle.

Honestly, we’re a little bummed this Aquaman didn’t get picked up.

But luckily, the entire pilot *is* available for $1.99 on iTunes if the trailer — unearthed by The Hollywood Reporter — is not enough to quench your TV thirst. According to the corresponding description, this Arthur Curry goes by A.C. and follows in fellow TV surfer dude Slater’s footsteps:

"A.C. knows that he must risk everything to protect the world's vast oceans, even if it brings him into conflict with alluring Navy pilot Rachel Torres. As he trains with his haunted mentor and relies on his close confidant Eva, A.C. grows to embrace an even bigger mission: an ominous, invisible war between the world A.C. inhabits and the one that bore him."

Just think of all the underwater action and Justin Hartley charm we missed out on! Not to mention all the abs, abs, abs.

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